The history of coke production in the Ostravian region dates back to the 1940s. With the available development of coking coal and as a result of proprietary, political and historical effects, about twenty coke plants emerged at the territory of Ostrava a Karvina district. A number of them ceased to exist after a relatively short existence.
The Jan Coke Plant set up (later renamed to President Beneš, later to Československá armáda), which became part of OKK later.
The Trojice Coke Plant set up, later part of OKK.
The Karolina Coke Plant set up, later part of OKK.
Today’s Jan Šverma Coke plant was set up in 1892 under the name Ignát, then being part of a coal mine of the same name.
The Lazy Coke Plant set up, later part of OKK.
Today’s Svoboda Coke Plant was set up in1908 under the name František.
OKK was established, when all the coke plants then existing as separate state-owned companies, except for metallurgical coke plants (Vítkovice, Třinec, Kladno and Nová huť, which was set up in the same year) were included under one management. The Ostravian-Karvinian Coke Plant included Svoboda, Jan Šverma , Karolina, Trojice, Československá armáda and Lazy.
The total coke production in the year of the OKK’s establishment with 3,816 staff was 3,515.1 thousand tonnes.
The Lazy Coke Plant was shut down.
The foundation stone of a new coke plant in Stonava was laid.
The Trojice Coke Plant was shut down.
The Karolina Coke Plant was shut down.
After the ten-year break in the construction, construction of the coke plant in Stonava was recovered. The new coke plant should have opened the operation with two large-capacity blocks of coking furnaces of the Giprokoks type. The third block should have been constructed after the commencement of operation, so the production capacity should have amounted to 3,600kt of coke/year. Dry coke quenching should have been installed in the new plant with steam production, gas desulphurisation and de-dusting of the coke part.
As of 31/12/1990 OKD, the state-owned company was dissolved without liquidation.
As of 01/01/1991, the joints stock company Ostravsko-karvinské doly (OKD) (the Ostravian-Karvinian Mines) was set up as the legal successor of OKD with the exclusive assets ownership of the state. Thereafter, OKD, a.s., started a restructuring process: mining as well as ground activities were merged into larger organisational units and OKD’s internal organisation unites (IOUs) and subsidiaries were set up.
The construction of the plant in Stonava was terminated by the resolution of the government.
The Joint stock company OKD, OKK was set upby subscription of assets of OKD, a. s. as of 1 January 1994, as a subsidiary with one-hundred percent ownership of OKD, a.s. The company’s annual turnover amounts to ca. 5.5 billion Czech crowns.
The new company comprised of two mining coke plants located at the territory of Ostrava and one coke plant from the Karvinian district.
Coke production in OKK amounted to 1,766.5kt in 1996. A total of 2,117 staff worked in the company.
After 154 years of continuous operation, coke production in the Československá armáda Plant was closed down.
In the same year, both the Ostravian plants were hit by flooding, which put both the plants out of operation temporarily. The Svoboda Plant recovered full operation after 11 days, the Jan Šverma Plant, which had been affected more, after 38 days. In the Jan Šverma plant, the flood wave penetrated also the regenerators of coke batteries, so after the water subsided, the smoke flues, chimney and regenerators needed to be dried in a controlled manner and subsequently all the batteries needed to be heated up to the operating temperature.
An extensive improvement of ecological parameters of the Jan Šverma and Svoboda Plants with the total cost of nearly CZK 1.8bn was completed in 1998. In this respect, both the plants had reached the European standard.
Modern equipment for drying and grinding coke to coke dust was put into operation at the Svoboda Plant in 2001. This dust is later used as an agent for coke production.
A gradual repair of the brickwork of coke battery No. 8 along with the construction of a new extrusion and stamping machine was carried out in three stages between 2008 and 2010. Coke Battery No. 10 was put into operation after the general repair in autumn 2010. At the end of 2010, after 118 years, the operation of the Jan Šverma coke plant was closed down
Between 2011 and 2013, the construction of mini-risers at the ceiling of Coke Battery No. 8., a new transfer car of CB No. 8 and optimisation of wet quenching in the Quenching Tower of CB No. 7 and 8 were carried out. During 2012, the quenching tower of CB No. 9 and 10 were reconstructed and a new route of the transport of coke dust for the coke grinding section was built. A new catalytic unit of the desulphurisation intended for the liquidation of emissions of organic substances was put into operation in 2013.
In December 2013, a new owner, MTX CZ, a.s., entered the ownership structure by buying 100% stake from New World Resources N.V.
Construction of a benzol separator and reconstruction of ammonium sulphate charging was completed in 2014.
At half of the year 2016 the modernized Dedusting of the Coal Service was put into operation.
At present, OKK Koksovny, a.s. has one plant at the territory of the city of Ostrava – the Svoboda Plant. It operates four coke batteries with the total number of 210 ovens.
Foundry coke produced in OKK Koksovny, a.s. has been enjoying the reputation of a top European quality product for long time. OKK has become the largest European producer of foundry coke.
Today, the Svoboda Plant has four coke batteries (No. 7, 8, 9 and 10) – with the total of 210 ovens (50+54+50+56). The oven capacity is ca. 15±0.5 tonnes of coke, the production cycle lasts roughly 32 to 34 hours. After the construction, Coke Battery No. 10 (56 chambers) was put into operation in autumn 2010. With its stamping operation, the Coke Plant focuses primarily on the production of foundry cokes. For the production of all types of foundry cokes, an agent of internal production is applied. At present, the year-round operation of the Svoboda Plant is approximately 800 thousand tonnes of coke.
The Svoboda Coke Plant was set up in1908 under the name František. It was renamed several times later (Generál Svoboda, Vítězný únor, Svoboda). After a complicated development, it became part of the Ostravian-Karvinian Coke Plants in 1952, with which it shared all transformations to come.
History of coke production in the world
The emergence of coke production dates back to the beginning of the industrial revolution, to the early years of the 17th century. Then, sir Henry Platt designed the procedure of processing coal, which was derived from then common pyrolysis of wood (heating with limited access of air in charcoal heaps). At the beginning, the resulting product was used for heating or in some food processes (e.g. in the brewing industry), because this refined fuel did not produce fumes that would have destroyed the products.
At the beginning, coke was produced in primitive charcoal heaps.
In 1709, Abraham Darby found out that coke is an excellent reducing agent in iron production. Natural coal could not be used for this purpose besides others due to the fumes from burning. It was one of the key discoveries enabling the beginning of the industrial revolution – this procedure reduced the cost of iron and steel production. Primitive charcoal heaps were gradually replaced by furnaces of various constructions.
Coke production in the Ostrava region started to develop since 1840s. In 1892, the Ignát coke plant, later Jan Šverma, emerged, which is today part of OKK Koksovny, a.s.
In 1940, the basic prototype of modern coking furnaces was developed. The furnaces were approximately 12 m long, 4 m heigh, 0.5 m wide, furnished with doors at both sides. Inlet of air was preheated by hot outlet fumes. Recuperation of the waste heat enabled higher temperatures and increased the carbonising rate. Since 1940 the whole process has been mechanised and construction materials have improved. The present systems may include ovens with the dimension of as much as 20 m long and 8 m high.